Postdoctoral Associate in Young Binary Star & Circumstellar Disk Research

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Archive Date: 
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Research Laboratory
Lowell Observatory
Street Line 1: 
1400 W Mars Hill Rd
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral position at Lowell Observatory to conduct research on young binary star formation, circumstellar disk evolution, and potential for planet formation. The postdoctoral scholar will be supervised by Dr. Lisa Prato.

The successful candidate will work with Dr. Prato on the characterization of the stellar and circumstellar properties of the individual stars in a sample of 100 close young binaries, located in nearby star forming regions, in order to better understand the formation and evolution of both the binaries themselves and their circumstellar disks. In particular, while there is evidence for a dearth of planet formation in close binary systems, some exoplanets are still detected around the individual stars in binaries with separations of only a few to tens of astronomical units. The primary goals of this project are to gain insight into the system properties, stellar, disk, and orbital, that control and modulate the potential for planet formation and to better understand the disk dissipation process. The postdoctoral scholar will analyze a rich data set already in hand, obtain new observations as necessary, develop models and schema for disk evolution and planet formation in close binaries, and supplement the analysis with publicly available data and results. The position is divided between 80% of the time dedicated to the main young binary star program and 20% for any research of the successful candidate’s choosing. Participation in Dr. Prato’s NSF Broader Impact educational program is welcome but not required. Opportunities for mentoring interns and undergraduate students are also available.

The initial appointment is for two years, renewable for a third year contingent upon satisfactory progress demonstrated by publications, presentations, and successful data analyses. This position is funded by an active grant and comes with a competitive salary and full benefits. Funding is available for computer resources, travel to conferences and workshops, publication charges, and observing runs. Postdocs at the Observatory have access to Lowell’s 4.3-m Discovery Telescope and a number of 1-m class telescopes. Lowell offers opportunities for participation in education and public outreach. Lowell Observatory is committed to diversity and inclusion in its workforce; we particularly encourage applications from under-represented groups.


A Ph.D. in Physics, Astrophysics, Astronomy, or closely related field by the start date of the appointment. Candidates with a background in young star astrophysics and circumstellar disk evolution are strongly encouraged to apply.

To Apply:

Please send a single pdf document to [email protected] that includes the following:

  • Subject line: Young Binary Star & Circumstellar Disk Postdoctoral Associate
  • Lowell Short Form Application (
  • A 1-page cover letter
  • CV
  • A statement of research accomplishments and future research plans. Candidates should explicitly describe how their experience and interests are relevant to this position. (3 pages)
  • The names and email addresses of three individuals who have agreed to send reference letters by December 15th 2022 to [email protected]. Candidates should request the reference letters themselves.

Applications received by December 15th, 2022 will receive full consideration. The anticipated start date is Spring/Summer 2023.

Included Benefits: 

In addition to 11 scheduled paid holidays, Lowell Observatory offers a Flexible Paid Time Off policy for all full-time, benefit eligible employees which allows you to determine how much time you need to rest and enjoy yourself outside of work. Paid time off also includes paid Parental and FMLA leaves. The cost of premiums for medical, life & long term disability insurances for benefit eligible employees is 100% paid by the company, and includes a contribution to either an H.S.A or HRA account for first dollar medical expenses. A portion of dependent medical insurance is paid by the company. Up to a 5% match on retirement contributions after 6 months of employment and funds in lifestyle spending account provided by the observatory.

Application Deadline: 
Thursday, December 15, 2022
Selection Deadline: 
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Dr. Lisa Prato
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Dr. Lisa Prato
Postdoc in Young Binary/Circumstellar Disk Science